Monday, June 6, 2016

It's rape, dammit!

It’s my Third Third, and I’m pissed as shit. That is just how angry I am.

I went to Stanford University. I was part of a collective of women activists, and we created a survival guide for women. We talked about rape. I taught a non-academic, political women’s studies class. I had a newspaper headline displayed in my room: “Victim slays rapist,” about a woman who killed her rapist with a nearby ice pick.
My sister went to Stanford, too. She and her friends made a film about rape.

And now it’s 40+ years later and a Stanford rapist gets a measly light sentence for what his father calls “20 minutes of action.” The judge says, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”

How many Thirds do I have to live before men stop excusing other men for their violence against women?!? I am running out of Thirds before women can expect to live in safety from men. It is 2016, and we are still putting rape victims on trial?!? When she was unconscious, beaten up, and only saved by two passersby?

In this whole horrible episode, there is a story of astounding heroism: the victim’s. Her statement to the court and her rapist is eloquent, blistering, and too very truthful. My heart breaks for her but sings for her strength.

Recently, a friend’s daughter complained that she has more controls placed on her than her older brother had. Her parents’ answer: “It’s not about fairness; it’s about reality.” I have actually practiced (to myself) how to helpfully respond to my daughter in the event any violence were committed against her, how to help her maintain her identity and self-esteem.

I have a rape whistle on each set of keys.
No, I am not a weird little scaredy cat. I am a woman living in 21st century America.

Yes, I know we have too many people in jails in the U.S. That was an issue 40+ years ago, too. But we also have too many men making excuses for violence against women. This isn’t just one case; I’ve read Jon Krakauer’s Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town – hell, I read the newspaper!

There is injustice everywhere, and I try to speak out wherever I can, but this one has just inflamed me. There are so many fights for justice that are won and so many that suffer setbacks, but that a student athlete – on the campus where I fought to raise awareness – still thinks he can attack a woman, hire a fancy lawyer, and get off easy just puts me over the top. That the judge agreed with him – that the judge said he was more valuable than she – means my First and Second Thirds blew away like dust in the wind.

I am probably too angry to even write this right now.

Granted, Stanford University quickly barred the rapist from campus. And the twelve jurors unanimously convicted him. And people all over the world are outraged.

Are those “positive” signs enough?

Not for her. Not for me. Not for any woman.


  1. Not sure what to say. I agree with you. Definitely another case of white male privilege. Maybe I'm not mad enough.

  2. It is sickening. My soul aches and bleeds for her, and for all women who have had to suffer like this. The Judge in the case has received death threats against him and his family, and while I do not think that is right, I kind of feel smug in that he in some way can feel what it is like to be terrorized.


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